Louise Speaks: Day 10 Continued: Our next spot, not too far away was another Refuge. The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, was different than other refuges we have visited. Wichta Refuge has a buffalo heard on the grounds and more longhorn steers than I have ever seen in ne place. There were signs all over the place telling us how dangerous these animals were and to stay in our cars, but when the steeers came so slow to the car, I had to get out and take pictures. At one point it started raining…very slowly, but the cows, or excuse me, steers, wanted o get home. Of course they had to cross the road…the road we were on. But they didn’t bother us so we dkdn’t bother them.
This refuge is the first and oldest wildlife preserve. The meadows below the colorful mountains were in bloom of yellow and purple flowers…such a bautiful site. Wichita preserves was named the nations first reserve in 1907. Fifteen bison were brought here from the New York Zoo. In 192o Longhorn steers found their home on the preserve. Today there are so many of both species that an animal round up and auction is held every year. The buyers are usually ranchers and sometimes Indian tribes who want to return the buffalos to their own land.
There are many hiking trails and lakes on the 60,000 acre preserve. Drivable roads take you around the preserve and there is a road up to Mount Scott, with an elevation of 2,464 feet. From here you have breathtaking views of the lakes, the mountains and the meadows in bloom.
One of the turn offs through the preserve is to Holy City. This 66 acre area looks much like Israel during Biblical times and is the site of the nations largest running Easter passion play. Attendance to this play reached an all time high if 1939 when 225,000 visitors jammed Audience Hill for the sunrise performance. There is also a beautiful meorial for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Surrounding the memorial are bricks with the names of those that died carved in each brick. One last attraction is the Veterans Walkway with names of veterans present and passed. The chapel on site has a beautiful painted ceiling and is a popular site for small weddings.
I know in the past I have made fun of these Wildlife Preserves, but this one had mush more to offer. We could have spent more time here but lunch was calling. I liked this preserve. I liked how the animals came almost right up to your car. In addition to the 4 legged animals, there were birds of various sizes flying overhead. I would rate this preserve a B. If you’re close by, stop and see all it has to offer, but it probably isn’t worth it to go out of your way unless you are a hiker and truly like being in the wilderness.
Thelma Speaks: The Wildlife Refuge had a nice visitors center with lots to see as well as the gift shop for those photos you may have missed and need a post card just incase. When driving through the refuge we were greeted by the steers. There were colors I hadn’t seen before and photos had to be taken. It was a great Wildlife Preserve as we got to be close up and personal with the steer but missed the buffalo. It was a beautiful green park like setting so nice to enjoy the curved drive through.
The Holy City was in the center of this lush green. The memorial was just inside the gate. The church had a painted ceiling which was nice. Inside the church was fairly small. We went into the gift shop for more postcards and met a lovely gentleman working.
The overall feeling is a C + as it was interesting and the animals were out, even in the rain.